U.S. military fighting against the ancient Roman army

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Originally seen here.

neamtzu_rau wrote:
1. The M1A1 Abram tanks will find themselves blocked, yes, blocked by the roman limes. Caesar's ditches will slow the american advance to a hault.

2. Then , by deploying his hipaspides closer to the blocked tanks, Caesar can start taking them out one by one, using tar and greek-fire.

3. Further use of flaming arows against the 101 Airborne Division marines will prove itself of greater importance on a flat terrain, where the marines will find virtually no cover, ending up beeing pinned down by a halle of arrows.

4. To counter the enemy's mortar and heavy artilery, Caesar would sent his Heavy Cavarly upon them, slashing their crews in an instant.

5. Apache helicopters watching the area will find it dificult to take out their targets, due to the fact that the battle is already engaged by romans and the americans soldiers are virtually fighting close combat, in wich the legionaries will prevail, sooner or later.


6. With the machinegun bunkers of the American Army, Caesar can only sit back and enjoy the show as his balistae and catapults blast the entranchments apart.

7. The American Comander is taken prisoner by cavalrymen, running into HQ.

8. At precisely 3 P.M , an agreement is reached by all sides.

9. 3.30 P.M an all American surrender.

10. General Staff and GI's are taken as slaves.

neamtzu_rau wrote:
That particular armour division that u think is capable of overthrowing any pre-medieval time empire ( that includes milions of men, fighting against thousands of well armed american troops) will eventually ran out of fuel and ammo.

What then ? You got those tanks stuck in the midlle of nowhere, they can't slip away from the enemy ( no gas) and they sure can't keep'em at bay ( no shells left)

What will your modern-day commander do ? I sugest you rethink your strategies.
Military men nowadays aren't great at craftmenship, load your riffle and you are set to go, marine. I doubt they would CAN replace the armour-piercing shells with any corosive material that would send some sort of impact in the enemy's ranks.

Presumely there are fighting the Huns with no ammo left, what now ?

you can't answer this question, because there is only ONE answer. The marines will fail. No bullets, average army man today is way-under the level of a Hun warrior or Roman Legionaire.

Even if they kill like thousands, they still run out of bullets. Face it.
They can't win.

So, who do you think would win?
Well, while it does depend on supply lines, I seriously doubt that anything the romans had even comes close to the range of even WWII vintage artillery, much less modern ones. The US would have to train everyone to conserve ammo more so than they already do, but they can get solid shots in before even the archers could get in range, the armor they had in those ages wouldn't do anything to stop even a pistol, and you have to consider morale. If you were a centurion and you were seeing your allies being killed by enemies you couldn't see (Camo at 300 yards against someone who has never tried to see someone in camo), by invisible arrows, would you continue to advance in phalanx against the nearly-invisible demons or would you run? Enemies that attack in the night, with almost perfect vision while you are straining to even make out basic shapes with sleep in your eyes?

And if everything else went wrong, a B83 landing on Caesar's palace ought to end all problems. Hell, it wouldn't even have to be a nuke, and there is no way that the romans would notice the plane, you can't stop what you can't see, and if they somehow miraculously notice the bomb as it comes down through their well-known god-mod power, what are they going to do? Shoot it? Blow it up? If you are within range of it, you are within the explosion radius, and if it is a nuke, you get to pick whether to be incinerated on the spot, or be cooked from the inside.

edit: And I seriously doubt that someone who can't spell needed did serious research. Especially because if he did, he would know that flaming arrows were actually very rarely used, because 1) it messes up the course of the arrow, and 2) You are bringing a flame up to your bow. Your wooden bow. Your flammable wooden bow.
Not to make an inflammatory comment, but I'm catching a load of fanboyism from those quotes... rivaling Katana fanboyism. It's actually kinda scary.

Technology wins. We simply have advantages the Romans could never dream of. If we really wanted to commit the genocide of the entire Roman Empire, we could stomp it flat in a massive air raid; destroy the camps, marching armies, politicians... the list goes on. There's nothing they can do against a plane, and little to nothing against a helicopter.

I don't think there really is much more to be said that Nodaisho hasn't already covered... That is, until someone plays devil's advocate.
Native CAS/FO flights.
The army has helicopters & A10's for a lot of good reasons,
and one of the really good ones it telling divarty what gridsquares need to be erased by the 155mm guns several miles away.

While cavalry charge sounds like a good idea against the artilery, that is because those cavalry havent heard of CanisterFlechette muntitions that wipe out entire horsetroops per shot. Any that survive can find out the firebase has Overwatch infantry support the hard way. 2000 horse can become a memory, never even getting close to the 155mm battery & 8 BMG humvees .


Sure, if some guy want to have the tanks be dumb, they can lose. Or if you say there is just not enough bullets to kill every Roman. Or if we left the heli's at home. But Joe Stallin had a saying about modern combat: Artillery is the god of war. Roman seige engines had neither the range nor maneuver to compete with 25mmBushmaster AFVs less 120mmMBTs, and their cavalry didnt have firepower or maneuver on the Hummers. Even Brit Longbowmen fall way short vs m16/SAW. Advancing infantry assuming their tower sheild wall will stop a 50BMG or even a m60 will get mowed like the lawn way before they can even think about chucking their pilum.
"Ok Jimmy, I'll hold the grenade pin while you put the mayonaise on the weasle"
Ya know, when push comes to shove, even if they ran out of ammo, I'm pretty sure an M1A1 can win just by holding down the gas pedal. I can't really imagine a Roman Legion coming up with tank traps fast enough to stop the Calvary from running over everything.

Or of course they can lose if Caesar has enough Legionnaires and we're talking about a game of Civilization II or III :D.
True, true, but they were like 20 nationalities livin' in the Roman Empire at the time and I doubt that fifty thousand men can whitstand the share weight of 20 billion of sarmatians,parthians,iranians,jews,galls,germans,britans,cartaginians,nubians, egiptians,greeks.

Get your facts right. Again. Please , try answering my "refuel" question once in a whille...

Face it, when you ran outta bullets, the Sarmathians, Galic tribes, Germans, Chartaginians , Thracians, Dacians, Huns ,Egyptians and yes, Romans will have a field-day.

Your average M-16 holds 20- or 30-rounds. It's range (550 m) allows it to be quite deadly. Lett's say you slaughter millions of archers, spearmen,cavalry. If all the nations unite against you, that's IT ! END GAME !

Basically, as soon as you atack and defeat a roman army, more armies will come over your positions and no matter how well defended, how heavyly armoured , how well supllyed you are, you will eventually run OUT of bullets.
Kill thousands, it's okay, but were will you get other M-16 mags ? From the smith?
And remember, as soon as u start killing, it would be even harder for you to survive that time-line, because, basically you'll be at war with the whole world. Remember, those "2-3 clips of ammunition for their rifle" it's ALL you've got ! After that, it's your time to perish.

I doubt that romans will look at you as gods, or be scared of your riffles. They were very resiliant and always fought untill the bitter end of a campaign. As soon as one people advance on their lands, chalenging them, they would gather forces and eventually defeat them.

You will loose men . Plague, if not from poison, because the locals will soon poison all wells and waterlines, so what then ? And each time you fight a battle, you loose a litlle more. Your men will eventually feel this is hopelles.
So what do you do then ?

When you run outta ammo ? And fuel ? Your jets are grounded, your tanks are imobile, every single cannon is now just a piece of junk. Did you think of this outcome ?

Or do you suposse you'll reach Rome in no time and overpower the Emperor. Even so, there's the rest of the barbarians to think about. My advice is : save your bullets. You can't gun down everyone ! This isn't a John Wayne movie...

And this.
I'm unable to view the original thread because I do not have a IMDB account, so unless conditions are supposedly different, there's something huge to think about here: we have an ocean between us, a really big ocean. Even if the countries miraculously defeat our armies (which would have been preceded by aircraft, which would have bombed their legions to dust before any engagements), they still have to cross an ocean their ships are barely capable of surviving. They'll be lucky to find their way anywhere near the U.S... and if they do, they'll be blasted by the ammo at home.
It's a lot easier to kill a bunch of people when they've so kindly bundled themselves in waterborne wooden boxes. ^_^

Sure, they could try and metagame their way through Alaska... I'd like to see them survive that terrain.
The topic creator basically stated that the U.S. Military appears around ancient Rome via some time travel method. They have limited resources, with no way to gate more in.
Okay... so the U.S. forces appear in the era and instantly go to war with the Roman Empire, risking their very existence via paradox at the same time?

Some might say Military Intelligence is an oxymoron, but... I would like to think we're not that stupid. I think they'd probably try and make as little an impact as possible for the reasons I've already mentioned.

If their very purpose was to eliminate the Roman Empire, they would have done their homework... An infiltration team would assassinate as many leaders as they could in the first strike, cutting the snake of at its head before sneaking out of the city. When the allies of Rome came in to aid, there would be no army to fight, as the US forces would have relocated to a very defensible and out-of-the-way location (quite possibly somewhere they can begin building means to resupply ammunition). The US armed forces will make use of assassination tactics the Romans and their allies cannot hope to counter. People die instantly, struck down as though the gods willed it...

There would be panic. Chaos is weakness... and the Roman Empire would crumble before its time, with minimal losses to the US due to using, you know, tactics.
I keep on thinking a lot more units have mortars or light artillery attached than apaches and abrams, so this must be a VERY sizable US force.

I also keep on thinking of mortars raining down destruction from the skys. How is a roman going to interpret that? Their gods must be really ******, or these foreign gods are really powerful, time to run!

I don't see them holding at all, I see them immediately running.

Obviously this guy has no concept of the range of ancient war engines and modern firearms. you can simply plug the guy running the catapult in the head, and then what? A M240 where you can watch your tracers, you can really reach out and touch someone, not even mentioning the M82.

Yes, there is a point where the US troops would run out of ammo and gas, but it wouldn't be immediately, and the devistation they would cause prior to that would send shockwaves of such magnitude that the empire would collapse.

I think it is much more intersting to wonder how far a single company, 100 men, with their basic full combat loadout, say they were in Iraq and stepped through some time portal, how long and how much they could accomplish.

I think 100 men with M-16s set on semiauto, taking reasonably careful shots at men standing in rank and file would kill 100-200 men instantly. If a group of musket armed troops of the napoleonic era could muster enough firepower to repulse a cavlary charge, 2 guys with M-16s could do the same.

The Romans didn't have crap for archers anyways, they more relied on javelins. And modern weapons so outclass javelins it isn't even funny.

Plus the whole term 'decimation' came from the pracitce of the roman legion if it fled in battle. They drew lots and 1 in 10 was sentenced to death, the other 9 had to beat him to death. Thing is, in ancient warfare, the deathrate was pretty low, you stood a better chance of surviving by sticking in the fight than if you had to face 'decimation'

So I have to think that the rapidity of which the front rank would simply drop screaming and fountaining blood when the enemy were still basically dots (say prone at 300 yards) it would break the nerve of a man who could stand sholder to shoulder and stab at his enemy for hours.
It is pretty unnerving to see the enemy devote only a 100 man unit to each of your 2000 man units... and watch them wipe out 1500 of the 2000men in 15 seconds closing from 125 to 100m.

A little omnisciency would let the Romans know each riflemen only can kill about 150 romans (assuming a healthy miss rate of a 210 ammo load). But without this insider knowlege, how exactly are the Romans going to know that if they can just keep sending another 2000 men against that same 100, that havent taken a single loss, after losing just 12,000 or 15,000 they can eventually close to Pilum/Melee range. Assuming of course the Army side just chooses to not use any 155/105 arty or 81/60mortars.

Remember the company mortars?
Advancing behind a shiled wall requires super dense formations, the artilly dream setup: 100-200 troops in each 155 HE burst.

But the underlieing concept of the Army coming to be at conflict with the Romans is weak. Intel would quickly show who they were, and language might be slow at first, but the Romans knew how to be political. The new GreenThunderGods would just be a tool of the legions to siege Romes enemy cities. Have the vehicles pulled by oxen to Gaul or the Burgs, 10 shells into a city then demand surrender. If not, 10 shells to erase city defense walls & open a gaping hole for the legions to march in. The 1/2 Hour Siege for the just the cost of feeding a 10-15k Army 'foriegner-legion' under Romes Flag to do it.
"Ok Jimmy, I'll hold the grenade pin while you put the mayonaise on the weasle"
when the legion gets within pilum/melee range, you finish off the last 500 with hand grenades.
actually, modern tech vs the romans, even 100 men, really opens up the option of quickly eliminating the officers of the individual cohort. A cohort was what, 800 men, with 80 centurions?

what does the century do when the sgt tells the squad to hold fire, and picks his best marksman to knock out the centurion, his second, and the standard bearer? What happens to the army when all the centuries advancing have this happen to them? Does the general ride out and see what is taking so long and to straighten stuff out? Bam no more general either. 200 rounds fired and the entire cohort is crippled.

(now you hit em with a few mortar rounds)
Rome would get serriously stomped.

American Soldiers have all the training of the romans, have studied their tactics and have better training, equiment, support, medical support and etc. Even taking a few of these away any American soldier has better training than any Roman soldier. How many roman soldiers have 12 years of school?

Even if you reduced the americans down to the same weapons, their knowledge of tactics alone should give them a tremendous advantage. Firearms alone would quickly swing the advantage. The ability for one American to kill many romans at a distance is just too huge.

Of course, realistically - depending on resources - the Americans would simply mount an arial campaign to destroy the Roman military camps without losing a single soldier.

Yes, you could see Romans winning battles. And if the Romans had many times the number of troups and the Americans were short supplies, you could cobble together a scenario where the Romans win - but it's just not very likely.

Using d20 Modern rules, guns aren't significantly more effective than arrows. They can't be or it tips the system on it's head. However once you start looking at rockets, automatic weapons, bombs and etc, it's just not a contest unless Rome has some spellcasters.

Mark Charke
American Soldiers have all the training of the romans, have studied their tactics and have better training, equiment, support, medical support and etc

How about in melee - evenly matched?
How about in melee - evenly matched?

If it comes to unarmed combat, I'd expect the US soldiers to do better. Melee including swords and spears and the like? I think the standard training for that sort of combat is as follows: back away, fire more.

Ranged is a much more important strength to have than melee nowadays, to the point where carrying swords and the like into combat is hopelessly stupid. I really don't think things would even come to melee, since the US fights dirty.

I'm sure Backstabbist could tell you who said this, though I forget... and am probably not quoting word for word, but here it is regardless: "If you're fighting a fair fight, something is wrong."
I'm not stating that it necessarily will, but if it did - fists and combat knives versus swords, shields, spears, etc...how would it turn out?
My knowledge of the martial arts styles the United States Military uses is not sufficient to tell you exactly how they would deal with such a situation... I honestly don't think they'd stand and fight (or surrender), but retreat to higher ground, where they can use the environment or pre-set traps against their foes.
Not to be a fanboy here, but I'm pretty sure the average american soldier doesn't stands a chance against the average roman soldier in melee (that is, armed melee). Especially not if it's groups vs groups. A riflebutt/bayonet/unarmed isn't a match for a shortsword & a shield. In addition, ancient armour is better against melee weapons than modern armour. Kevlar has a problem against stabbing/piercing weapons, has it not? Do you know how Romans wield the gladius? They stab people with it, and then twist their weapon so the wound doesn't heal as easily.
You forget that our war machined run on diesel engines and turbines
it it burns they can run on it
+oil
+the "good" whine
+More oil
+surface deposits of petroleum, yes, some one will know were these exist, and they do exist in the Italy/France region

So, why would they use the butt, when they have a riffle, it will go threw his shield, the guy behind him, and the guy behind HIM, and the guy behind HIM. The roman army forms up on three ranks, It will never get to melee

And even before that: Napalm
There was a certain air devision whos sole duty was to disperse napalm. thier motto was: Only we can prevent forests.

They will Never use the tanks guns unless they come to a fort, other wise it's Road kill. Lots of it.

The .50 cal. quad mount on a half track, this thing is known as a Meat chopper, you can figure out why.
Yes, Tema69, Ragitsu, the Romans probably would win in (melee-weapon-armed) close-combat, considering that their frontliners were trained for armed melee combat. U.S. Soldiers don't need this extent of melee combat training because it's pointless to have in the modern era.

Again, though, being a better force in armed melee combat when you're fighting a force that is highly proficient with 200X-grade military firearms, not to mention other more powerful weaponry, is kind of moot.
So, why would they use the butt, when they have a riffle, it will go threw his shield, the guy behind him, and the guy behind HIM, and the guy behind HIM. The roman army forms up on three ranks, It will never get to melee

Scroll up. We are discussing how they'd do in melee (as in : armed melee).


@ all:
I think the average G.I. 'll probably be superior in terms of unarmed combat.
I agree, Tema. I've heard USMC full-contact is a very, very brutal martial art.

Hmm... now if the US soldiers had some way of reliably disarming the Roman soldiers in melee... :P

Thought: they are taught to disarm people holding guns and knives. It'll be harder, but couldn't that transfer into disarming people who are holding gladius?
How about disarming a shield from it's soldier?
I'd give melee to the Romans, hands down.
Its what they do.
Its their infantry thing... they do it & they do it good.

Step 1- Huck a pilum generally towards the enemy lines to Unshield them.
Step 2- Get midevil on their now shieldless azz, up close & personal.

That is their main thing, melee infantry with a mean lil stabber you slash folks with while lining up a killshot, not a finesse rapier.

Just because they are so centered on melee, I would supose the romans would be more strength oriented than fit/stamina oriented physically... giving them the edge in all melee. But like was said before, how many of them know the square root of IL = VII

The tactics of the legions is not skirmishing, but ranks. That will fail against the ranged skirmish & bombardment tactics of modern warfare.


This ROME talk has got me interested in cueing up some Titus Pulo stabby action.... fun stuff.
"Ok Jimmy, I'll hold the grenade pin while you put the mayonaise on the weasle"
One thing to think about is that in these days, your modern soldier is not only larger than the average roman would have been, but better fed and in better shape. The romans were probably somewhere just over 5' on average, and most men these days are around the 6' mark, they would seem like demons with their magic staves, and what would the interceptor plates do to a gladius? That is hard armor, correct? Hard armor stops piercing and slashing decently, correct? I would still think that if the romans were getting in close, the soldiers would show them the "little ball, big boom" trick with their M67s, while they were still far enough away that the explosion wouldn't hurt friendlies. I do think that in armed combat, the romans would have the advantage, but that comes from equipment, not from physical strength or technique.

The roman fanboy seems to be unclear on whether you are fighting the romans or the whole world, rome wasn't exactly considered to be a benefactor, if word got out that the gods destroyed Caesar's palace, I think you would be getting a lot of revolts.

He keeps talking about running out of fuel and ammunition, I say that by the time that happens, they are in rome, having cut a burning swath through anything that opposed them, and looted all flammable objects to keep the fuel reserves up in case more action is necessary. And the romans wouldn't know that you could run out of ammunition with the guns, they wouldn't connect them with bows, they would think of it all as magic. Sufficiently advanced technology and whatnot.

edit: Oh, and I am pretty sure the fair fight quote comes from Clint Smith, though it also seems like something Jeff Cooper might have said.
back in the day
I drove a m35 Deuce with a multifuel injector pump. Oil, gas, deisel, meth/ethahol, vegi-oil, burbon, honey... just mix a coctail in the tank with some kind of lubrication and it will squirt it into the 1100degree cylinders to make black smoke out of it.

Back then, our few 'new' 900's didnt have multifuel injector pumps. I dont know what will become of vehicles that are particular to kero-type fuels.

But I do know the 8 oxen teams will transport the column to battles where they will fire up their turbines & diesels to get outlandishly killy on the local mooks from waaayyy far away.

As for BlackPowder Conversion of the m16-
We talked about this before, and the only real option for reliability is to disable the gas system & use it as a T-handle repeater. The fouling would most likely clobber reliability in a magazine or two. However, one could load a Smokeless magazine for auto/semi work, then switch mags & kill the gastube for Reapeater fire the rest og the battle. One might be able to stretch their Smokeless Auto magazine with a 3:1 mix of blackpodwer loads (if one could workout a grind/load that would cycle depite fouling)

Interesting note is the 25mm Bradleys, 20mm/7.62mm rotarys, 20&30 helicopter chainguns... all the chainguns & chainspooled guns will fire at 100% ROF with BlackPowder Conversion
"Ok Jimmy, I'll hold the grenade pin while you put the mayonaise on the weasle"
I'm not stating that it necessarily will, but if it did - fists and combat knives versus swords, shields, spears, etc...how would it turn out?

I am thinking this through.

For starters, the roman infantrymen, like most men of the period, would be about the size of the vietcong. Heck, even Abe Lincoln, considered EXTREMELY tall, yet 6foot 4 isn't all that tall now. General Custer was an average man for his day, and was 5ft 5 or so. We just have so much better nutrition and access to calcium, vitamins, iodine in the salt, etc.

Second, roman infantrymen weren't trained to fight. They were trained to stand together in close rank and stab forward. Most of their training was not to improve fighting technique on the individual level, but march, wheel, retreat, and advance as a single entity. This was very potent.

However, as others have pointed out, the US army studies the history of battle. They know weapons progression, they realize what technological advancements spelled the end of the legion. I have no doubt that our troops could make the equivalent of pikes, form ranks 3 deep, and repell a roman charge. There is a reason the exact mix of roman weapons was dropped, yet the technique of training the men to act as a single unit, be it pikes, muskets, or whatever, was maintained for so long.

Now the only problem is 100 vs however many romans. Eventually weight of numbers would bear down even the most skilled, unless again the USA relies on it's knowledge of military history and finds narrow passes in which to defend themselves...but I think it more likely that he USA would fall back to different lessons learned, and would adopt a form of guerilla warfare. They would be much more adept at very small units working in concert even when seperated by a good 10 yards. they would be much more adept at cameoflage, making guille suits, etc etc. They know the basic boobie traps of dig a hole, put a feces stained sharpend stick in there and cover the top with grass. They would know to strike at the legion supply lines and not the troops themselves. They would know to set fire to the tents of the encampment, etc. their long running digital watches would allow for expert syncrinzyation of attacks and distractions. I think our troops moving light and fast (leave the guns behind, except for select individuals that still have ammo, drop the excess gear, and you have men in extremely sturdy boots, light camo uniforms, and kbars...6 foot tall men used to carrying 100 lbs of equipment, they could HAUL ASS across the plains) burning fields and disrupting roman life, freeing and arming slaves even just to distract the roman troops.

the US army would shoot them as much as they could, but they would switch tactics before totally depleting all their ammo. I don't think it would ever boil down to a melee matchup, while I believe the US soldier would be slightly better, the US soldier would also realize that they were only SLIGHTLY better, and would attempt to strike at the troops in other ways.
I think it is much more intersting to wonder how far a single company, 100 men, with their basic full combat loadout, say they were in Iraq and stepped through some time portal, how long and how much they could accomplish.

Sounds like the seed for a campaign
@ Akodo: Well. The scandinavians (and probably many of the other 'barbarian' races - saxons, etc.) of the time were pretty large too. The romans didn't see them as demons. Just as barbarians. They aknowledged them as skilled warriors.

Anyway, this really really depends on the loadout of the US force. If it's 100 troops, without heavy weapons, then I'd say that the romans have a decent chance (not talking by attrition. yet.). Rome employed skirmish tactics too. Just not with their average legionaire. They had skilled archers. They had awesome siege engines. Th... I'm a fanboy now, right?
I don't think the US soldiers would be seen as demons or magic users at first. Not at the relatively long range of combat.
On the other hand, following the rules of engagement, wouldn't the US forces have to wait untill fired upon? That means that they'd have to wait untill the legionaires had thrown their pilums (assuming no giant flaming rocks or whatever). That makes stuff more interesting, doesn' it?
Even if they still followed RoE after being sent back in time (which I doubt they would), I don't think the Romans would came at them with a full legion at first. They'd probably try to negotiate first... and if the sides could understand each other, the conflict would probably be avoided.

And why wouldn't the Roman's see the US soldiers as demons or magic users when their men begin dropping before they can see the enemy, and keep dropping while they fruitlessly search for the source of the attack?
They might not see the soldiers as such, considering they won't be able to see them at all, but if they ever made the connection...
Hmm... I guess some of the more superstitious persons (I don't think we can generalize when it comes the Roman Empire) could believe that it was some sort of magic, I think the more intelligent soldiers (probably the officers) would guess that it must be some sort of unknown weapons. The Romans were used to see new stuff. The saxons weren't seen as demons by the romans just because they wore blue paint (others thought the saxons to be demons though). The elephants of Africa were simply animals in the eyes of the romans. I'm under the impression that they were quite rational.
I might be wrong though.
Okay. Regardless of whether or not they saw it as magic or higher technology, I think seeing your comrades drop so quickly from an unknown cause employed by an unknown enemy would damage morale. Ambushes are bad, ambushes where you can't locate the enemy because they're too dang far away are even worse.

Just my thoughts.

Also, I wouldn't call you a fanboy, Tema; you argue logically.
Not only were the ZRomans logical,
but they were thrifty too.

They would recognize the costs of a campaign, real & resource commitment, and were open minded negotiate terms. Taxing people is better than killing them, so let the GreenThunder legion join the empire to work & pay unto Ceaser that which is Ceasers. The US has bases in all kinds of forign countries, whynot there too.

If you thought the Romans were big on building roads, wait till we sell them Steam Railroad technology. Aquaducts are nice, but look how well Plumbing works. The GreenThunder Legion would live well off granted lands from the technology they sell to the Empire.

Lodestone Generators/Altenators
Electric Lights
HeatPump Refridgeration

We have so much low tech to sell theory of, why would they fight us.



Regardless of whether or not they saw it as magic or higher technology, I think seeing your comrades drop so quickly from an unknown cause employed by an unknown enemy would damage morale

Oh yeah! Bigtime.
When the enemy has machines that kill you 200x better than you can kill them, does it really mater if you knew if it was magic or not?
"Ok Jimmy, I'll hold the grenade pin while you put the mayonaise on the weasle"
Of course it would cause a severe morale drop, I never denied that. I just said that I didn't think that the romans would believe the soldiers to be gods/demons/magic users.

Stabbist's right, the romans'd probably try other things that fight the troops.

And thanks Master Vega. I was just affraid of being too "ooh, romans are SO cool! and they have big shields n'stuff." ... ;D
Doesn't d20 Future or d20 Past say someone from an ancient society might not necessarily be superstitious or see some tech from the future as "magic" or "will of the gods"?
that sounds like d20 past to me. I don't have that book, however.
Actually, it's from d20 Future, concerning PL: 0 Stone Age:

"An individual living in a Stone Age society is primitive, but he isn't necessarily gullible, stupid or easily frightened by advanced technology"
@ Akodo: Well. The scandinavians (and probably many of the other 'barbarian' races - saxons, etc.) of the time were pretty large too. The romans didn't see them as demons. Just as barbarians. They aknowledged them as skilled warriors.

I don't think the romans ever messed much with the scandinavians. The northern Gauls and Celts and all that, yes. Of course they didn't have camo to make them disappear or magically able to talk to eachother over far distances or boomsicks of death. But you are right, they did aknowledge that type as skilled warriors, but they knew that such individual skill was useless as formation fighting trumped it.

They had skilled archers. They had awesome siege engines. Th... I'm a fanboy now, right?

I won't go so far as to call you a fanboy, but the roman archers were not very adept at all. Slingers and even properly thrown javelins were a match for the bows the romans had their auxillia using. The greeks had this same problem too. This is both cause and effect. Poor bowmaking technique drove them to develope infantry skills instead. A drive for infantry skills instead caused them to not bother developing improved bows, even on the few occasins when they assimilated a culture that did have better bows. They had decent seige weapons...for knocking down mud brick walls. Their seige weapons would have been useless against a good medivel stone castle. And unlike movies, seige weapons weren't really used as anti infantry weapons in the feilds. A few were, but not many were designed with this purpose in mind. They were generally short ranged and designed to be used against a standard large block of infantry stationary just outside of bow/sling/javelin range.

I don't think the US soldiers would be seen as demons or magic users at first. Not at the relatively long range of combat.

really? how do you think the romans would describe being hit by 500 yard rifle fire, when the prone enemy wasn't even visible or even 200 yard rifle fire when the enemy was an unassuming speck laying down. Would they even associate a man laying down as a man engaged in using a weapon?

Besides, history has answered this angle of the question time and time again. Guns were seen by primitive people to be more than just weapons. Either the wielders were gods, or the weapon itself was some sort of demon to be sated. This is where the term 'cannon fodder' first came from, that the demons that were guns had huge appetites for human destruction, but evenually they could be sated. So you fed them the least important troops first.

On the other hand, following the rules of engagement, wouldn't the US forces have to wait untill fired upon? That means that they'd have to wait untill the legionaires had thrown their pilums (assuming no giant flaming rocks or whatever). That makes stuff more interesting, doesn' it?

Not really. What is often forgotten is that thrown projectiles are slow, very slow. Now, if you are packed information, there is nothing you can do but take it, but one of the benifits of skirmishers were that they were spread out enough that a volley of projectiles weren't very effective (remember you aren't targeting individuals, you are flinging it high to get max range and have it fall on the group) and skirmishers could move right, left, forward, and back to avoid them, or simply the whole group of skirmishers could turn and run back about 10-20 yards when they saw the legion throw. This is why the Romans didn't send their legion after skirmishers, they sent skirmishers after skirmishers. This is why skirmishers are used, make the romans throw their small supply of pilums.

So, 90 soldiers stay back, prone and hidden, 10 go forward a bit, pilums are thrown, the 10 scurry back and the 90 unleash hell like the romans could only imagine.
Actually, it's from d20 Future, concerning PL: 0 Stone Age:

"An individual living in a Stone Age society is primitive, but he isn't necessarily gullible, stupid or easily frightened by advanced technology"

this is absolutely true. Often stone age people are extremely inquisitive of new technology. I think they wanted to make it clear that stone age people wouldn't run screaming from a flashlight, radio, or similar item.

Once a technologically advanced weapon was used as a weapon, then it is time for the running and screaming.

This counts for everyone, not just 'dumb primitives' If you don't also have a technologically advanced weapon, running and screaming is a good idea. Even a crowd of advanced people aren't going to mill around when the oppressive regime in charge okays the paramilitary forces to start shooting to disrupt the protest, they are going to run with fear, well educated fear.
I think that is because some of them would still have had contact with people from other PLs, I think that in a time where magic was universally believed in, things that we could do would be considered magic. And does anyone know what age the roman empire was in? Seems like bronze to me (I always have the image of the centurion with the polished bronze breastplate when I think of the roman empire), but I don't know for sure.

The knowledge aspect is important, in a big enough force, someone is going to know how to make gunpowder (look in the demo specialists first), someone will know how to make steel, for longer knives or swords if needed, and for some armor, if needed, though I think making blackpowder guns would be more likely. Melt down lead and you have bullets just as soon as you make a mold for them, train the men to operate the guns fast, maybe rig up something so that they just pump on the foregrip and cycle the action, if you can, since blackpowder won't get the same speed, which means no fragmentation, just a slightly longer .22 subsonic. They would expand like exposed lead bullets have a tendency to do, pity those 1st century romans didn't sign the Hague treaty in the 1800s, or the troops wouldn't be allowed to use those. What would the accuracy be on a blackpowder .223? Wouldn't be able to outrange the archers so well, so hit them while you don't know where they are, directly after you hit the siege engine operators. Or, possibly, you would be able to make smokeless powder, nitrocellulose with nitroglycerin for the two-stage powder, right? Keep a bag over the ejection port of your guns, though, you could forge new brass, but it would be easier to not have to. What about new primers? Would those be makeable?

If they do start making swords, if they can make modern steel, they can collect some roman armor and swords and show just how much weaker the roman weaponry is than theirs.

Course, all these ideas could royally screw the timeline, so the main thing the army would want to do is get back home before anyone figures out how they make everything. If they were lucky, all of the knowledge would be considered heretical and would be destroyed at some point.

Guerilla war would be very effective, sure, the 300 at Thermopylae were able to survive until they were outflanked, but that would not be as effective as hit and runs throughout the country, striking out of nowhere, traps around every corner, shots from nowhere, making themselves seem larger than they were, because as you said, men used to carrying a hundred pounds of equipment, stripped down to just 20 or so, end up moving pretty fast.